Close
Close

You Have a Niche! You Just Don’t Know It Yet

This guest post is by Heather Eigler of HomeToHeather.com

Yes, you do have a niche. You’ve likely read it a thousand times on blogs about blogging. Two of the number one pieces of advice are ‘choose your niche wisely’ and ‘write what you know.’

So what if you aren’t wise and don’t know anything? What could you write about that qualifies as a niche? And what does having a niche do for you anyway?

Having a niche has its benefits

Your niche gives you focus. It gives you identity and purpose. A blog with no niche is like a magazine with no cover model. The model on the cover of a magazine tells readers instinctively what they are likely to find on the interior pages. A fashion model indicates articles about celebrities and shopping can be found inside. An athlete tells us we can likely learn how to improve our golf swing.

The same goes for blogs. A niche is our version of a cover model. We include it in our headers, our buttons, our posts and our SEO. Readers who land on our page will instinctively know what the blog is about—if we’ve done our jobs well.

There are blogs about food and blogs about cameras. Blogs about travel and blogs about sports. But what if you just write about your everyday life? What if there is no core subject matter and your blog is a grab bag of this and that.

What can you do then?

You have a pre-made, bona fide, built in niche

Yes, you do! It’s your location. Everyone lives somewhere. And there are other people who live where you do who might be searching for information on local events or restaurant reviews. And there are many people who don’t live where you do who might be interested in visiting someday … but how would they know if they can’t come across anything on the web that tells them what a great place it is?

When I rebranded my site, HomeToHeather.com, to be more of a personal blog, I knew that I was going to have issue expanding my readership because of my content—it’s a mom blog. Only so many people are going to want to read about my kids
and they certainly aren’t going to surf in from search engines to do so. Yes, I write about other things, too—like blogging and products.

I’ve had a small bit of success with traffic from StumbleUpon but not enough to keep the site growing. Since I live in a fairly large, dynamic city I decided that incorporating a local slant could be my niche. So I started incorporating a few posts here and there about Calgary. I added my city to my title tags and banner. Then I sat back and watched my stats to see if anyone arrived via search.

And they did.

What topics can you take local on your blog? How about:

  • events
  • restaurants
  • parks
  • wildlife
  • sports
  • local celebrities
  • local schools, clubs, and associations
  • tourist info.

If they’re talking about it, they’re Googling it

What’s going on right now that people are talking about? Read through your paper and write a post on the opposite view on a major topic. What are people talking about at work? Write about it.

I get a smattering of Google traffic every day for phrases such as Calgary Daycare, Calgary Blog or Calgary mom blog. I’ve attended a few events as a “local blogger” and have had one or two advertising inquiries from local
businesses. The new local focus is working and I’m excited about what’s next for me.

While HomeToHeather is still a small blog—very small, I am slowly working my way towards establishing a local readership, with local content. It’s a great way to round out the rest of my more random posts about blogging, motherhood and creativity. So try it yourself and take advantage of your built in niche—you never know where it will take you.

Have you done any local posts on your blog? Could this technique work for you? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Heather lives, parents and blogs in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Grab her rss feed for more posts on local blogging.

About Guest Blogger

This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above. If you'd like to guest post for ProBlogger check out our Write for ProBlogger page for details about how YOU can share your tips with our community.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Comments

  1. Thanks for the post, Heather. That was a good idea to put a local slant onto some of your blog posts Never thought about doing that so it is worth a try. Good luck with your blogging.

  2. I’ve always thought about doing this with a few friends but never really panned it out. It is such an easy good idea.

  3. This is a great post and although it seems so simple i have never thought about starting up a blog about my local area. I have always wanted to shoot for the stars but if you want to increase your portfolio and live in a populated area having a local blog would be a good way to increase your portfolio

  4. Akos says:

    This is a great article. It’s very simple, but well written.

  5. Nick Begin says:

    A lot of posts about finding a niche are very generic and encourage you to do some soul searching without giving any concrete examples or solid advice. You did a great job of giving ideas on some actual things to consider when deciding on a niche.

    • Heather says:

      Thank you so much! Sometimes generic is good…but often it’s hard to take that advice and apply it to our own situations.

  6. Hi Heather,
    This is very intuitive of you! I’m surprised that bloggers are totally ignoring their local scene. That is definitely a great way to create a stir and leave your mark on the immediate area. I even suggest getting out an attending local networking events – make it a point to meet people in person and tell them about your blog. You never know who might be interested in advertising or a joint venture. It opens up so many possibilities – if you can’t make the national news, why not make the local channel headlines?
    Thanks for sharing a little known tip!

  7. Lisa says:

    Great tip, I have a few local- niche sites and it’s been a great way to connect with local businesses to get work writing content for their website, social media contracts and even ghost-blogging gigs.

  8. John Hoff says:

    Hi Heather,

    Excellent idea on how to increase targeted traffic to your blog. What I’ve also found to help is to check out what’s popular online by using Google Trends.

    People searching for popular things on the Internet like to share their opinions. Might not be as local, but still can create a buzz that your blog is “hip”.

  9. corey says:

    You could even cover your area from another angle. Say you’re into surfing, you could talk about surf spots, the best place to grab a burrito or taco after a surf session, and then a good place to catch some live music and a drink after a long day in the water. You could also review local surf shops, ect.
    So my point is, you can take a niche even deeper then what you may initially begin with.

    • Heather says:

      Absolutely! The concept can really work into any existing topics you might already be writing about. That’s why it works so well for me

  10. Marlee says:

    Hi Heather!

    Thank you for the simple and practical tips on developing a niche. I work with clients who struggle in this area all of the time and it is almost funny how they can’t see a potential niche right in their own backyard – literally!

    Sometimes we are just too close to ourselves and our work to see how we can carve out our own defined space. Using these tips will certainly help. Best of luck with your growing blog!

  11. My niche is art inspired by bees: Bees in Art. And because I happen to know a lot of excellent professional artists through the Royal College of Art old boy network, I’ve been able to occupy this niche. Which is the main advantage of being interested in such a topic.

  12. I should have added that I’m a 3rd generation beekeeper and professional artist inspired by bees myself which are the sources of knowledge crucial for the occupation of my niche. One customer neatly described Bees in Art: as quaintly and quintessentially English (in other words: eccentric).

  13. Carstarphen says:

    “Our niche is our version of a cover model” Great analogy!!!

    J

  14. Once you know your niche adopt it, become it’s parent. Care for it, feed it, treat it as if it is your child. It will grow up and give back, as much if not more as you put into it. Patience pays off.

    Great post Heather, thanks.

  15. Jonathan says:

    It’s worked for my blog and me. :)

  16. farmnwife says:

    This has really got me thinking. It used to be everyone on the web said “why limit yourself to just your area? Market globally.” Now the new black is “local”. Which actually makes sense but only if you have the population to support it. Where I live, half hour drive to any town, I don’t have the number of people to target.
    @farmnwife

    • Heather says:

      while I’m lucky I have a city of over a million people to write to, you could just as easily target your state or maybe even the ‘mid-west’. You’ve already mentioned the mid-west in your sidebar there….just expand on that if you’re interested in implementing this model :) Thanks for reading / commenting!

  17. Bess Auer says:

    Spot on! My whole blog is about my great location: Orlando and the great Central Florida area.

  18. Yeah, my father said so. I’m good at something I just don’t know it yet.

  19. eve says:

    Great article Heather! I have been thinking of going more local but didn’t know where to start!

  20. Julia says:

    What a great idea. I have been trying to focus my blog on Canadian content/products but maybe I need to get more local and focus on Quebec and great places for English people to hang out. Thanks!

  21. Wow! That is a great idea… I’ve noticed that by far most of my traffic comes from my state, but was trying to figure out how to take advantage of that. Your article really got me thinking, I’m excited about this new idea! Thanks for much for sharing and giving me a push in the right direction. Loved the article. :)

  22. Mandi says:

    This might seem like simple information, but it’s incredibly smart! Thank you for this post, it’s definitely something to think about if you are trying to grow. It doesn’t hurt to try and see what local traffic it brings in, and what opportunities it could lead to! Great post!!

  23. Nichol says:

    Very good tips and I have thought about this many times!

  24. Great tips, Heather. You gave me some good ideas. :)

  25. Nolie says:

    Great advice. I actually mentioned to my fiance about starting to blog about local stuff. However I had a fear of putting my city down for the longest time. Just the other day I did a post about a spa I went to in my city so I have started the ball rolling on it.

  26. MainlineMom says:

    Good points…except if you move a lot. Blogging for me has been a long haul endeavor and when I chose my nickname (MainlineMom) which I use all over the internet, it was location specific. Then I moved 1500 miles away where no one knows what the Main Line is. I have thought about creating a new hyperlocal blog, but focusing my personal blog on my location would really turn off my existing audience and limit myself. Sure it might get me some pageviews, but that’s not what I’m after. That said, when I have posted a few times on local events or issues, I have seen an interesting increase in local traffic.

  27. Ken says:

    The thing is, I’ve been pretty clueless as to how I can attract more visitors to my blog. I recently refreshed and created my blog all over again to become more personal. The likes of us write about everyday life and we hope to share much of our ideas to more people. It’s just difficult to actually have the blog focus on one thing when it really is all about a lot of different things. But yeah, the locality concept is nice. I might try to do more about stuff going on around. Thanks Heather :)

  28. JulieD says:

    This is great, Heather. I have actually thought about incorporating some local aspects into one of my blogs. Great tips and ideas. Good luck with yours!

  29. I’ve done a little local blogging, but will certainly be doing more. Thanks for the tips!

  30. Heather says:

    For those of you who wish to implement this tactic at your blogs – I have a follow up post…10 tips for Attracting Local Readers

    http://hometoheather.com/2011/01/how-to-attract-local-readers-10-tips/

  31. TerriAnn says:

    Great tips. I do try to focus on local features but that is a bit slow taking off.

  32. Alison says:

    I think it’s a wonderful post. Thank you Heather. I’m doing price matchups for my local Price Chopper… and I’m getting hits for that in the local area. I’m going to expand I think a little bit more in this arena.

  33. M's Mom says:

    I blog about reading to babies, which I thought was a narrow enough niche to begin with. I write about it because reading to my daughter( or any kid for that matter) is the activity I enjoy more than just about anything in the world. However, what I found interesting was tracking some of the search terms that led to my blog – people looking for specific titles in the Indian children’s book category, or people looking for information on a certain book written to celebrate a Georgia Pre-K milestone. When I wrote those posts, little did I expect people to land on my blog looking for that information – I was pretty sure I must be the only adult with a peculiar interest in kids’ picture books, but, as it turns out, there are others. I like your idea of adding a local slant to my niche…sort of a sub niche niche…nice. Btw…nice to meet you fellow mommy blogger with a niche:)

  34. Karen says:

    I think this is so very true. I live fulltime in an RV, so my location changes. But, I do write about whatever location I am in–whether it is the Grand Canyon, a forest service campground in Alabama, or in a privately owned campground in Gettysburg. And I have had search traffic from all of those locations, because, I want to be there, someone else does, too.

  35. I thank God that I have a niche. It makes things so much easier. However it can be rather limiting. This article was very encouraging!.

  36. Penelope says:

    Omg! I live in NYC…I have a niche!

  37. Marty Herald says:

    Good points Heather and every once in awhile I do think about going “local.” For better or worse, I live in a fish bowl named Maui. Don’t get me wrong, love living here and appreciate all the benefits, weather, beauty, safety, etc. The issue for writers here is that there are already so many people writing about Hawaii that even if your stuff was the best thing since Krispy Cream (which is a VERY big deal here) it would be tough for anyone to find you. Still, it’s a lovely thought and never hurts to revist it from time to time.

    • Jen says:

      Marty, don’t automatically assume that is true. I did a couple of posts about my visit to Hawaii and if you Google Mokulua island seabird sanctuary, mine (Starting Over) is very close to the top of the search results. I have a tiny blog with little more than 200 followers and rarely post about Hawaii. Just start writing original content (not what you could find on the restaurant’s website) and see what happens.

  38. Great posts Heather! I agree with you that you absolutely need a niche and that a blog without any focus, is kind of like being inside a scatter-brained mind!

  39. Becky says:

    Great thoughts Heather. I used to not have a niche but now I sort of do because I saw over time that most of what I was posting on was Change, so that is my niche now. I still blog about other things but it’s a little more defined. Thank you for sharing the benefits of having one.

  40. Debbie Kane says:

    Thanks, Heather, for clarifying something I just thought about today. I’m about to start blogging — I’m a freelance writer trying to snag some online work — and one of the niches I’m exploring is home/design. There are SOOO many home/design blogs out there, but to my knowledge, none about my particular area. And there’s plenty to talk about. Good luck with your blog. I’m amazed at all the initial thought that goes into such a seemingly simple thing.

  41. Tim says:

    I there any type of copyright infringement using the city name in the blog title?

  42. Wasim Ismail says:

    Thanks for the post, starting local is great place to start, and slowly start to expand in to other areas.

  43. Dee says:

    You’ve lit a fire under me that’s been diminishing for a while. I started a blog small town living and was thinking of incorporating news and events from around the area but fizzled out shortly after starting. Now I know it was a good idea and I’m ready to revive it and try again.

  44. Shawn Mackey says:

    You know, as I have struggled mightily wondering if the niche I have chosen was going to work for me, I never even realized to write about where you live as a niche. Now that I think about this, how perfectly simple the concept is.

    It seems that pretty much no matter where you live, you can enlighten residents about features of there town in which they never knew, and, at the same time, provide potential tourists with the information needed to navigate around your beautiful city!

  45. Excellent article, Heather!

  46. Jen says:

    Google loves my local travel posts. If you search “galveston lost oaks” my blog is listed fourth. I was just writing about what I was doing and noticed this and some posts about trips to local state parks were getting traffic. It really works! I’m definitely going to do more of the same.

  47. Great post – we do all have a niche inside of us.

    I have generally found the best way to find that niche is to start off with a personal blog covering any subject which takes your fancy. Over time the blog will develop in one direction depending on who visits it and the relationship which you develop with those people.

  48. Sarah says:

    I moved almost a year ago to Columbia Missouri and really fell in love with the place. I’ve been thinking of creating a website about it for a couple of months now. I finally took the plunge and signed up for a new email address and wordpress site this evening after reading this post. Thanks for the nudge!

  49. I added a local section to my blog last spring. I really haven’t attended to it nearly as much as I should, and always plan to do more, but even the handful of posts I have there get a trickle of traffic.

    You’ve inspired me get my lazy self in line, and write a local post this weekend. I know just the thing…

  50. That is a great idea Heather – sometimes it can be difficult to figure out how to focus your niche. Since I have a couple of “niches” I enjoy, I created different blogs for each niche. This may or may not always be the best options, depending on your time. But, I did get more traffic and readers once I started narrowing my niche and getting away from the personal side that was not really interesting or helpful to other readers.